Cyclones continue to take season one game at a time


Jacob Rice/Iowa State Daily

Iowa State forward Morgan Kane boxes out for a rebound in the Cyclones’ 77-62 win over Kansas on Jan. 26.

Andrew Harrington

With a seemingly endless stretch of games behind them, Iowa State women’s basketball used this open week to rest and recover.

Now with a matchup against TCU looming, the players feel they are prepared to finish the regular season the same way they started it.

Head coach Bill Fennelly was one of the main voices stressing the importance of this break, as he gave his team the weekend and Wednesday off in addition to light practices Monday and Tuesday.

“This is the time of year where you’ve got to find another level of commitment, and if you can’t find that when you’re having a good season, then you do have a problem,” Fennelly said.

While from afar it appears that Iowa State had a week without game action, allowing the players to recover, this was not entirely the case.

Morgan Kane mentioned that the time off served as more of a physical time off, but the players remained mentally locked in.

“You say time off, it was kind of time off for our legs, but mentally we were still there, we were still at practice,” Kane said.

One of the primary focuses for the Cyclones this season has been not looking at who the next opponent is and going into each game getting the job done.

With a current record of 20-3, including a 9-2 record in Big 12 play, Iowa State shares the top spot in the Big 12 with Oklahoma. The Cyclones remain laser-focused on getting a road win over TCU on Saturday despite their solid conference standing.

“I think you want to be a team that over 18 games feels like you are playing at a high level, and so far after 11 we are right in the mix of it,” Fennelly said. “We have seven games left, and you could be Big 12 champs, or you could be sixth. You could get a pretty good seed in the NCAA Tournament, or you could be sweating it out and sitting on the bubble.”

A recent key to the success of the Cyclones has been the continual improvement of Emily Ryan.

In the team’s most recent win, Ryan shot 6-6 from three and displayed her growing confidence in her own game.

Ashley Joens said that Ryan’s success not only impacts the team from a scoring standpoint, but she also clears the path for open shots within the rest of the offense.

“Her confidence is really high right now and that definitely helps everyone,” Joens said. “She also facilitates the ball really well, so that opens up other people.” 

With five consecutive games over 14 points, Ryan has added scoring to her already very strong repertoire.

Fennelly also believes that the biggest improvement that Ryan has made is from a confidence standpoint. Earlier in the season, he stressed the importance of creating your own offense to Ryan.

“I wish I would have done that earlier, it might have made a bigger difference in our team,” Fennelly said. “It just gives us another person for other teams to worry about.”